Dublin Oldschool (4 stars)

Rap, rave music and blistering energy in a chemically enhanced Irish two-hander  

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Dublin Oldschool

credit: Albert Hooi

You can feel the seething energy crackling off the stage in Irish actor and writer Emmet Kirwan's hectic, frantic, chemically enhanced trip through the Irish capital. He's Jason, would-be DJ, petty dealer and under pressure to be young – and to cram, as he says, ten years' experience into three. And he's joined by Ian Lloyd Anderson, playing a huge cast of supporting characters, in a show that mashes together rap, spoken word, dance music and often hallucinatory storytelling. From the first moment, it bursts off the stage in frantic, nervy life and doesn't let up.

But behind the sly tales of coked-up record shop owners and lost afternoons, there are subtler themes at play – for a start, Jason's hesitant relationship with his junkie brother, back from London and looking to build bridges with the family. And there's a mysterious, strangely bland doppelgänger who haunts Jason's partying like a warped conscience.

Most of all, though, it's Kirwan's wild linguistic exuberance that makes the show so spellbinding, as the two men slip in and out of rap and speech, rhyming and twisting direction at every turn, sparking off each other magnificently. Be warned that it's not always easy to follow, but keep up and it's an unforgettable switchback journey.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug (not 15, 22), 1pm, £7.50–£10 (£6.50–£9).

Dublin Oldschool

  • 4 stars

Dark comedy set on the streets of Dublin.

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